Category Archives: Re-stringing

Commission for piano sales

While I’m primarily a Sheffield piano tuner, I occasionally sell pianos (usually ones in the £500 – £1000 range – perfect for upgrades). I’m particularly drawn to ‘Chappell’ and ‘Challen’ pianos from the early to mid 20th century, as they tend to age significantly well and keep their tone. In an ideal world I would have a workshop set up to do repairs on both the action as well as more aesthetic improvements (polishing and refinishing pianos), but I live in a small flat without a garage so this isn’t practical at present.

Sometimes I receive an enquiry from someone who wishes to sell a piano, but would like to book a piano tuner beforehand. This is an excellent idea as it allows me to look over the action/mechanism and give it a worthy assessment. Minor TLC can be performed if the customer is pushed for time, and more extensive repairs can be done (my fee for repairs is £20 per hour).

If you would like me to use my contacts in the piano trade to speed up your sale, I charge a commission of 10-20% of the sale (depending on the value of the piano). I am often in contact with people who wish to upgrade their piano and have got in the habit of saving their details for when the perfect piano comes along.

The last time I did significant restoration work before selling a piano (i.e. not the usual repair work undertaken in a customer’s home) was when I still lived with my parents in 2012. They had the room for me to set up a mini workshop and on my time off I would take in free pianos found on Freecycle and restore them to the best of my ability. It was a great learning experience coinciding with my time studying piano tuning and repairs at college, away from Sheffield. I would recommend every aspiring piano tuner and tech to do this while learning their trade, nothing quite compares to throwing yourself in at the deep end this way. This was before I had gathered a sizeable set of tools, so jobs such as re-stringing were especially challenging, forcing me to think outside the box and use household items such as screwdrivers to make a neat coil. Once you have been a piano tuner for several years, you will become quicker at your job, partly through experience and partly due to the useful piano tools that are able to be purchased on the market today.

March Updates

This is the first blog post of the month. We’ve had builders working on an extension for the last few weeks so my internet access has been limited. I intend to update this blog at least once a week, but that isn’t always possible, so sorry for that.

Last week I had two Sheffield customers (both in Norton coincidentally) who needed a new string for their piano. It’s not uncommon for a piano string to break while performing a raise in pitch, and a piano can sometimes break a string during a regular piano tuning as well (both the Norton/Sheffield piano tuning jobs where pitch raises). Sadly, this is just an annoying fact of life and is one of the least enjoyable parts of my job as a piano tuner. As a piano owner you can expect at least one string to break during the pianos life. This is one reason why you should have your piano tuned once every sixth months; so you can avoid the process of having a pitch raise, which also more costly and time-consuming than a regular piano tuning. The extra tightening required to bring it up to concert pitch puts the string at more of a risk, especially if it’s an old piano (although a string breaking on a new piano is not unheard of).

Strings cost around £15 to £20 depending on their size. What I usually do is take the broken string home with me and send it off to be remade (if it’s a bass string). A new string will usually arrive in 3 to 4 days. Treble strings need to be measured with a micrometre and then ordered from a seperate company, which also tend have the strings sent to me within a few days. Luckily, the process of re-stringing takes about 10 to 15 minutes.


– Richard, Piano Tuner Sheffield.